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Things to do in Memphis
Memphis is a vibrant and historic city in the American South that’s known for its contributions to American music, civil rights, and cuisine. Founded in 1819, Memphis has a rich history that includes the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the birth of rock and roll. In this essay, we’ll explore some of the top things to do in Memphis, including visiting Graceland, exploring Beale Street, visiting the National Civil Rights Museum, discovering Memphis’ outdoor spaces, visiting the Memphis Zoo, and trying Memphis’ famous cuisine.
No trip to Memphis would be complete without a visit to Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Graceland is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Memphis, and for good reason. The mansion, which was built in 1939, was home to Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death in 1977. Today, Graceland is a museum that’s dedicated to preserving Elvis’ legacy and showcasing his life and career.
Touring Graceland is a unique and unforgettable experience. Visitors can explore the mansion’s many rooms, including the famous Jungle Room, where Elvis recorded some of his most famous songs. The tour also includes a visit to the Trophy Building, which houses Elvis’ collection of gold records and other awards. Other exhibits at Graceland include Elvis’ collection of cars, motorcycles, and planes, as well as exhibits on Elvis’ movies, concerts, and personal life.
In addition to the main Graceland tour, visitors can also explore other exhibits and attractions on the Graceland campus. These include the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, the Elvis Discovery Exhibits, and the Graceland Exhibition Center. There’s even a Graceland wedding chapel, where couples can tie the knot in a setting that’s fit for a king.
Explore Beale Street
Beale Street is another must-visit destination in Memphis. Known as the “Home of the Blues,” Beale Street is a historic district that’s known for its vibrant nightlife and music scene. Beale Street has a long and storied history that dates back to the late 19th century when it was a center of African American culture and commerce. Today, Beale Street is a bustling hub of activity that’s home to dozens of bars, clubs, and music venues.
One of the best things about Beale Street is that there’s always something going on. Whether you’re interested in live music, dancing, or just soaking up the atmosphere, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. Some of the most popular clubs and music venues on Beale Street include B.B. King’s Blues Club, the Blues City Cafe, and the Rum Boogie Cafe.
Beale Street is also home to a number of festivals and events throughout the year. The Beale Street Music Festival, which takes place in May, is one of the biggest music festivals in the country, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. Other events on Beale Street include the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, the International Blues Challenge, and the Beale Street Wine Race.
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum
The National Civil Rights Museum is one of the most important and impactful museums in the United States. Located at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, the museum is dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the Civil Rights Movement.
The museum features a number of exhibits and artifacts that showcase the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement. These include a replica of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, as well as exhibits on the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
One of the most powerful exhibits at the museum is the Legacy Building, which houses a collection of exhibits that focus on the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. These exhibits examine the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America and showcase the work of modern-day activists and leaders.
V. Discover Memphis’ Outdoor Spaces
If you’re looking for some fresh air and exercise, Memphis has plenty of options for outdoor activities. One of the best places to visit is Shelby Farms Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the country. Shelby Farms Park covers over 4,500 acres and features dozens of miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as lakes for fishing and boating.
Other outdoor spaces in Memphis include Overton Park, which is home to the Memphis Zoo, as well as a golf course and a playground. The Mississippi River also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and kayaking.
Visit the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country and is home to over 4,500 animals from around the world. The zoo covers over 70 acres and features a number of different exhibits and attractions, including a giant panda exhibit, an African savannah exhibit, and a penguin exhibit.
One of the most popular exhibits at the Memphis Zoo is the Northwest Passage, which is home to polar bears, wolves, and other animals that are native to the Arctic. The Cat Country exhibit is also a favorite among visitors, with its collection of big cats like lions, tigers, and leopards.
Try Memphis’ Famous Cuisine
No trip to Memphis would be complete without trying some of the city’s famous cuisine. Memphis is known for its barbecue, which is a style of cooking that involves slow-cooking meat over an open flame. Some of the best barbecue restaurants in Memphis include Central BBQ, Rendezvous, and Corky’s.
In addition to barbecue, Memphis is also known for its soul food, which is a type of Southern cuisine that’s known for its rich and hearty flavors. Some of the best soul food restaurants in Memphis include The Four Way, The Arcade, and Alcenia’s.
If you’re looking for something a little different, Memphis also has a thriving food truck scene. The city’s food trucks offer a variety of cuisines, from Mexican and Thai to Korean and Italian. Some of the most popular food trucks in Memphis include Say Cheese, El Mero Taco, and Stickem Food Truck.
No trip to Memphis would be complete without a visit to Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley. Graceland is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The mansion itself is a stunning example of mid-century architecture and design, with its pink and white exterior and elaborate furnishings. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion, which includes a look at the King’s living quarters, his music room, and his famous Jungle Room.
In addition to the mansion, Graceland is also home to a number of other attractions and exhibits. These include the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, which showcases the King’s impressive collection of cars and motorcycles, and the Elvis Presley’s Memphis entertainment complex, which features a variety of exhibits and attractions related to the King’s life and career.
Explore Memphis’ Art Scene
Memphis has a thriving art scene that’s worth exploring during your visit. The city is home to a number of museums and galleries, including the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, which features a collection of American and European art, as well as contemporary works by local artists.
Other notable art galleries in Memphis include the David Lusk Gallery, which showcases contemporary art by emerging and established artists, and the Marshall Arts Gallery, which features works by artists from the African diaspora.
If you’re interested in street art, Memphis also has a number of murals and installations throughout the city. The South Main Arts District is home to a number of large-scale murals, while the Memphis Urban Art Commission sponsors a number of public art projects throughout the city.
Overall, Memphis is a city with a rich and complex history, a vibrant music scene, and a thriving cultural and culinary scene. From the blues clubs on Beale Street to the historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and dynamic city. Whether you’re interested in history, art, music, or food, Memphis is a city that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.